Highlights In Today's Reading:
"Joy!" How we should live (1:21). Hold forth the Word; Mind of Christ (Chapter 2). Believer's faith (Ch. 3). Generous givers (4:10-16).
In Europe, the Apostle Paul preached his first sermon near the city of Philippi. On the Sabbath, Paul went to a place of prayer by a river where Lydia, a businesswoman from Thyatira, was saved along with a few others (Acts 16:13-15).
As we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying (fortune-telling, palm reading, crystal ball reading, etc.). . . . But Paul . . . said to the spirit, I command thee in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour (16:16,18). When her master saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas . . . And brought them to the magistrates (16:19-20). Although this demon-possessed person was set free from demons, Paul and Silas were unmercifully beaten. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison (16:22-23).
At a latter time, in a Roman prison, Paul wrote to the Philippians: The things which happened unto me have fallen (turned) out . . . to the furtherance of the Gospel (Phil. 1:12-13). Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world (2:14-15).
Paul wrote to these converts in Philippi a triumphant letter: Rejoice. . . . I rejoiced in the Lord greatly (4:4,10). Did he just get a promotion? Or were great crowds gathering to hear him preach? Did the Roman government decide to set him free? Can you believe that he was in a filthy, cold Roman dungeon with his wrists bound by chains at his side waiting for his execution? His imprisonment in Rome gave him the opportunity to share the Good News about Jesus with many of the elite guards of the Roman Empire (4:22). As there was a change of guard three or four times a day, this was a great opportunity to tell them about Jesus the Messiah, who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Circumstances will not defeat the believer who has experienced Christ as revealed in this book. If Christ is truly our life — and we live for His pleasure, to display His faithfulness, His love, and His patience — then what an insult to His judgment for us to express discontentment because of suffering. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29).
Thought for Today:
Rejoice in the Lord alway (regardless of circumstances): and again I say, Rejoice. . . . (because we know that) All things work together for good to them that love God (Phil. 4:4; Rom. 8:28).
1:7 meet =b> right; 1:8 my record =b> my witness; bowels =b> affections; 1:14 waxing confident =b> gaining confidence; 1:22 wot =b> know; 1:23 in a strait betwixt two =b> hard pressed between the two; 1:28 an evident token of perdition =b> evidence of impending destruction; 2:3 vainglory =b> boasting, empty conceit; 2:22 the proof of him =b> his trials have proven his sincerity; 3:1 not grievous =b> I never get tired of telling you; 3:2 dogs =b> Judaizers, antagonists, legalists; 3:20 conversation =b> citizenship; 4:6 Be careful for nothing =b> Don't be anxious; don't worry; 4:14 communicate with =b> express your concern; 4:18 I have all =b> I am fully satisfied; 4:22 chiefly =b> especially.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Rick Hash • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA) • Country: Romania (22.5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Rumanian and Hungarian • Freedom of worship • 69.5% Romanian Orthodox Church; 14% non-Religious/Other; 8% Protestant; 7% Catholic; 1% Muslim; .1% Jewish; .4% Marginal • Prayer Suggestion: Remember that one of the purposes of prayer is to glorify God (Ps. 115:1).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Chronicles 7:14